The 13 Most Stylish Philly Instagram Accounts You Need to Follow Immediately

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Images via 1, 2, 3.

Instagram isn’t just a social media platform; it’s a way of life. Millions of people post millions of photos on the ’Gram everyday, in the hopes of sharing a unique perspective on ordinary life and maybe scoring an exclusive waist-trainer/detox tea advertising contract. Even in Philadelphia, the app has evolved from anthologies of “squad pics” to thoroughly curated feeds that consistently serve major style inspiration. Meet the 13 Philly Instagram accounts we’re currently obsessing over. Read more »

SEPTA: Don’t Take Selfies on Train Tracks

By Jim Pickerell, 1936-, Photographer (NARA record: 4588217) - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Public Domain,

SEPTA tracks in Philadelphia’s Northwest suburbs. | Jim Pickerell, (NARA record: 4588217)U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Public Domain.

Chances are you’ve seen more than one photo of a young couple strolling aimlessly along a set of old-wooden train tracks. The images are iconic, they’re romanic — and they’re risky. While train track pictures are a photographer’s dream because of the elegant converging lines and scenic backdrop, they’re also a train engineer’s worst nightmare.

As the weather warms up, and the trees begin to bloom, SEPTA is attempting to discourage spring photographers looking to hold such photo shoots from heading to the tracks.  Read more »

Philly Block Project Wants to Show a Truer Portrait of Kensington

Hakan Ibisi carries a photograph of his grandfather in his wallet. Ibisi was photographed for the Philly Block Project, a collaboration between the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center and Hank Willis Thomas. Photo by Wyatt Gallery/Hank Willis Thomas Studio. 

Hakan Ibisi carries a photograph of his grandfather in his wallet. Ibisi was photographed for the Philly Block Project, a collaboration between the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center and Hank Willis Thomas. Photo by Wyatt Gallery/Hank Willis Thomas Studio.

A smile creeps onto Fada Ahmad‘s face as she passes around a photo of the newest member of the family, her 1-year-old granddaughter. In the picture the young girl clutches onto her grandfather and a wide smile covers her face.

“She loves him more than anyone,” says Ahmad, laughing softly, as she talks about how the girl’s grandfather spoils her with gifts and candy. This is only one of the cherished photographs Ahmad has to share. Ahmad is the self-proclaimed photographer of her family. She has two suitcases full of photos at home. Today, she’s brought several snapshots and a cellphone packed with pictures.

“You are the keeper of your family archive,” remarks Lori Waselchuk, the coordinator of the Philly Block Project.

Ahmad’s archive is joining with another archive — actually quite a few other archives. Ahmad is at the Al Aqsa Islamic Society for a photo scanning event. Her photos along with the photos of many Kensington residents are being collected by the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center for something called the Philly Block Project. The aim of the project is to create a “visual narrative” of South Kensington that will be comprised of photos submitted by Kensington residents, in addition to photos of present day Kensington which will be taken by photographer Hank Willis Thomas and several other collaborating artists. Read more »

High Art: Q&A with Rooftopping Photographer Christopher Olstein

Rooftopping photographer Christopher Olstein (right) enjoys the view.

Rooftopping photographer Christopher Olstein (right) enjoys the view.

Most of us spend our days looking up at the skyline of Philadelphia, but what if we could get on top of some of the city’s most iconic buildings and structures and have a look around? That is the goal of the “rooftopper,” a type of urban explorer that has been in the news recently thanks to nauseating feats like this one atop the world’s second tallest building and also some attempts that, tragically, didn’t turn out quite as well. We caught up with Philadelphia rooftopper Christopher Olstein, who publishes the photographs from his elevated missions on Instagram. (A gallery of his photos appears after the interview.)

What possessed you to start rooftopping?

Instagram, actually. I was seeing a lot of people doing it in Manhattan, which is such a dense, tall city with so many different places to go and capture different views. And so I thought it would be interesting to see what kinds of views I get in a city like Philadelphia. Read more »

Adam Wallacavage Exhibiting Photographs For the First Time in Over a Decade

Ship on rock

We all know Adam Wallacavage‘s octopus chandeliers, the whimsical light fixtures that decorate ceilings from here to São Paulo and beyond. It’s been a long time, though, since the local photographer and sculpture artist exhibited photographs. Like over-a-decade long. That’ll change soon, when Fishtown contemporary art space LMNL Gallery opens his new exhibit of photographs called “Shipwrecks of Unicorn Beach.”

Read more »

Here Are the Three Winning Shots From Philly Photo Day

On October 9th, Philadelphia Photo Arts Center (PPAC) hosted their annual Greater Philly Photo Day. The initiative asks anyone to snap a picture on that day and submit it in the attempt to capture what it looked like to be in Philly during that 24-hour period. A rep from PPAC tells me they got 1,500 photos, and they’ve selected three standouts that will be blown up and posted on SEPTA platforms around the city. Here are those winning shots, by photographers Alex Djordjevic, Paul Drzal, and Steven Huang:

The nice thing about Philly Photo Day, however, is that everyone who submits is a winner. You may not have your photo immortalized on SEPTA platforms, but every image will be featured in an exhibition of entries at the PPAC Main Gallery at 1400 North American Street. That kicks off on November 12th with a special reception at 6 pm. For more, check out PPAC’s website here. Or look out for one of the billboards on the SEPTA platforms. Here’s an example of what they’ll look like with text and images and such:

greater philly photo day

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Tomorrow is Greater Philly Photo Day

Get your camera ready, Philadelphia. Tomorrow is Philadelphia Photo Arts Center (PPAC)’s Greater Philly Photo Day, an initiative to capture what 24 hours living in Philadelphia looks like in photo form (and a way to have one of your pics included in a real-life exhibition—no matter what your skill level).

Taking part is easy-breezy. Just snap a photo between midnight and 11:59 pm on Friday, October 9th, and upload it to PPAC’s website. The only rules are that you have to capture the photo on October 9, 2015, and you have to have taken it within one of the 11 counties making up the Greater Philadelphia Region. You have until October 14th to upload it onto PPAC’s site here.

Read more »

You Wish You Worked Here: Philly’s Prettiest Photo Studio


Nell Hoving in her whitewashed Kensington studio. | Photo by Lauren McGrath.

We’re serving up some serious office envy in our new series, You Wish You Worked Here, where we take you inside the city’s most covet-worthy jobs. From fashion-focused careers you didn’t know existed to just plain gorgeous desk setups, take a peek inside
the glam life of Philly’s corporate and creative elite.

If you’re a fan of Shoppist’s print counterpart — the Scout section of Philly Mag — then you’ll probably recognize the work of Nell Hoving, the bubbly, redheaded photographer who shoots some of our prettiest pictures. Hoving’s airy studio, located in a light-filled corner of an old soap factory in Kensington, is a place of inspiration, with whitewashed brick walls, a sprinkling of vintage curiosities and huge windows that wash it all in light.

We spent the day with Hoving shooting our November Covet page (see a sneak peek here!). In between shots, I picked her brain about her “office space,” her on-set uniform, and how to make it as an editorial photographer in Philly. (Oh, and because you’ll want to know, her gorgeous strawberry hair color is natural. Consider us very jealous.)  Read more »

84-Year-Old Philly-Born Photographer, Dave Heath, Finally Gets His Due

"Drowning Scene," Central Park, New York City, 1957, by Dave Heath (The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri: Gift of the Hall Family Foundation

“Drowning Scene,” Central Park, New York City, 1957, by Dave Heath (The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri: Gift of the Hall Family Foundation)

Photographer Dave Heath’s start in life wasn’t easy, but maybe it provides a clue to understanding his soulful, empathetic and moving body of work, on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art beginning this Saturday, September 19. When you look at the work, the loneliness and gentle observation clearly stand out as artistic motifs. His black-and-white photographs are gorgeous and stark, and yet so deeply human that they easily connect the viewer to subject. Heath taps into our collective identification with times of loneliness, self-absorption and longing. These images are not ironic. There’s no arch cleverness. And that’s one of the strongest qualities of this work. Read more »

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